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A Weekend in Twizel                                                                                                                                         18th – 19th June

I once heard a comment “Twizel! I would rather stay home and watch paint dry”.

Hmm, Well I driven into Twizel, had a coffee, got petrol, done the odd job there, drive in drive out. Driven past the entrance numerous times heading elsewhere. People in Timaru have holiday homes there. What’s to do in Twizel?

So I decided to find out. I put it to the committee. Midwinter Xmas party for the South Canterbury Tramping Club “what about Twizel”. It’s in the McKenzie country, close to home for a weekend trip, overnighter. Winter time, who knows what the weather is going to be on the day. I arranged access to a house in the township, so bring it on Huey, we got it covered.

Just 6 of us put our names down, as it happens just enough beds for all. As it is only a couple of hours drive, we left Timaru Saturday morning. Colin, Judy, Barry, Christine, John and Wayne, taking the scenic route up the Waitaki Valley.  An overcast day, unloaded, put a heater on, slow cooker on ready for our return.

A drive over the canal to Glen Lyon Road to the Greta Track carpark. Ben Ohau Ruataniwha Summit, 5 km-2.5 hrs. Phew that looks a bit of a grunt. Better get going, it looks like it is a bit damp at the head of Lake Ohau from a Norwest breeze coming over the Divide. 

It’s like every time to get to a Summit you have to start up hill straight away. The heart rate goes up, sweat soon comes pouring out your brow. When did I last get my heart checked? Oh well, this is cheaper than a Doctor’s visit. Soon find out, then the second wind kicks in. We decided to take the short cut, miss out the first few zigs and zags of the four wheel drive track. Pushed our way through a bit of Matagouri, following a cattle track. I wonder if they notice how sharp that stuff is?

Once on the track, a few stops to take in the view. Keeping an eye on the weather at the top of the lake we could see the breeze will be visiting us soon. A couple of hours and a bit later we were in the lea of the hill having lunch overlooking Twizel and Lake Pukaki in the distance. Made it, no rain, but not quite at the top. A twenty minute push and we were at the top of Ruataniwha Summit 1522m. A bit of a look around then down out of the breeze. This time a different route down, overlooking the Glen Mary Ski lodge area over the other side of the lake. That took about 2 hours and we were still in sunshine. Perfect.

Back to the house, the chefs got to work in the kitchen. A few cheers and nibbles, the world put to right. Grub served up, dishes done, then it was noticed a few people having trouble staying awake in the lounge chairs. Must have been that fresh air and exercise for the day. Off to the bedrooms, except some idiot decided to put the hall heater on and not turn it off. Phew, who said Twizel is cold in winter.

Breaky time and a few of us were lucky to sample some of Wayne’s bacon and eggs. Nothing smells better than B&E for breaky when you only brought a Uncle Toby’s porridge sachet. Thanks for cooking the extra Wayne. Back to what we were there for. Yeah that’s it, tramping. Not raining, not sunny but ok. Let’s do it, The Pyramid trail, about 16 km’s, 4.5 hrs. This time not such a grunt up hill. A 5km wander to the saddle giving views back to Twizel, the Hydro Canals, Pukaki, etc. Over the saddle then down the Darts Bush Stream, over the Fraser Stream. Lunch time, then follow the Fraser stream to the Glen Lyon road to where the cars were parked.

Not a bad weekend in all. Perhaps in the nearer future we will head there again, it’s at our backdoor. We could take mountain bikes. It’s on the Alps to Ocean trail. Let someone on the committee know if you are keen to do something or go somewhere up there. Always looking for ideas, don’t keep them to yourself.

John



Pyramid Walk 1 small.JPG